Andy Lally is quite somebody in the world of IMSA. The five-times Daytona 24 winner is easily one of the household names of the series. Last season, he teamed up once again with Magnus Racing to help field a Lamborghini Huracan in the GTD category. He makes no secret of the fact that he is as ambitious on the track as off it. We met up with him in Atlanta to figure out how.
Andy, you’re a staple of the sport but for our readers who are less familiar with IMSA, run us through your career.
Like most kids, I started my career in Go-karts and quickly moved on to touring cars at a very young age. In the early 2000s I was offered a seat in the Rolex Grand Am series and I started racing prototypes for a long time. I went on to win the 24 hours of Daytona five times, was victorious at the Six hours of the Glenn four times and made it on to the Podium of the Le Mans 24 hours.
This year you’re racing in a GTD. What makes this category so exciting?
I race a Lamborghini Huracan in GT-Daytona class, which is just another name for a series that is internationally known as the GT3 category. The GTD class is always the IMSA-series class with the largest number of competitors in every race. The cars are great to drive and they’re very evenly matched, so it makes for great door-to-door racing.
Throughout your career spanning over 20 years, has there been one series or car that stood out?
Although I raced prototypes for most of my career, I would say I prefer to drive GT cars. GT cars give you a lot more room to play with, while a prototype car is more straightforward mostly because of the aero setup. Although if I’m really honest my all-time favourite car is a stock car on a road course. Every year, I get the opportunity to race Nascar on some road courses which is so much fun. Those cars drive and handle like dump trucks, but they have the horsepower of a spaceship, which makes for an interesting combination. You can arrive at a corner at 30mph faster than a GT3 car, but the car is a lot heavier and has little or no downforce, no ABS and definitely no traction control. That brings out the true driver in me.
You are a Georgia local - so do you consider Road Atlanta your home event?
Well, I grew up in New York so I always considered Watkins Glenn to be my home track but I might say I have two now, because during the Petit Le Mans I just went home at the end of the day and slept in my own bed, which was nothing less than a luxury.
You have a lot more going on at the moment, besides racing.
Yes, together with my business partner we recently released three apps for car enthusiasts. The first one is called Motor Crush, which was meant to be a place for people to start their own impromptu car meets or cars and coffee, but what’s funny is that the app has gained a life of its own. Users have been creating their own communities around certain cars which they own and sharing ideas on modifications and how to do them. This was not the initial idea for the app, but it’s great to see people building communities around something you’ve created. The second one is Track Rabbit, which is an app that helps event organisers or car clubs set up registrations for track days, and this is something that is really picking up momentum as we’ve recently signed VIR (Virgina International Raceway) as a partner. The last one is Awesome Joe Auctions, which is an auction site that will try to fill the gap between Ebay motors and bringatrailer.com.
Looking at your social media, it’s clear that you’re involved in a lot more sports than just motor racing. Is that your way of training for motorsports?
Yes, when I was a kid, I used to do all kinds of sports. But that all stopped when I started go-karting, which quickly became my sole focus. I’ve been mountain biking for a long time. A few years ago, I started doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu and four years ago I started pool skating again. They’re all great training for motorsport because they not only keep you physically fit but mentally as well. Mountain biking is very hard and trains your endurance skills and you learn how to manage your energy and pace yourself. Jiu-jitsu sparring is all about reactions and reading your opponent, while pool skating is all about precision and getting your timing right – all things that are incredibly important when you race cars. I honestly can’t even remember the last time I set foot in a gym.